Mordhau is a multiplayer hack and slash game in the first-person action set in somewhat accurate medieval age where you create a personalized mercenary, have access to a huge arsenal of weapons & armor and take on horde of enemy players decapitating them left, right and center. Without any doubt, players should expect high-intensity bloodbath combat.
It was released in April 2019 and developed by a Slovenian independent studio namely Triternion on Microsoft Windows platform using Unreal Engine.
How is Mordhau’s gameplay?
Aesthetically, the game looks very nice and realistic with an overall impressive simple medieval feel to it without overloading the textures with too much detail keeping ground clutter to a healthy minimum and giving all areas plenty of character without being too complex.
Colors used are varied and realistic. A little bit too vibrant for a blood based hack and slasher but that’s not exactly a bad thing. Textures are easy to distinguish and high-quality in general but not too overpowering which is a good thing as it helps keep your focus on the fighting rather than the structures and foliage.
The indoor torch flickering is immersive and even mild sunlit areas look extremely good. Probably, one of the most realistic cloudy skies and sunlight shadows that can be seen in a game.
The UI is nice and descriptive yet very clean. Your HP (Health point) and stamina bars at the bottom are large enough to see with your peripheral vision while you play. The capture point bar at the top is effective and the in-game chat is hidden while you’re in combat.
The only thing that might be a bit annoying is the kill notifications on the top right corner of the screen that might be a hindrance in viewing properly. These can most likely be disabled anyway.
Maps are absolutely huge, obviously to match the amount of players that will be in them of course.
Mordhau has many different stages like castle ruins, snowy peaks and forest camps. All these stages have impressive detail and graphical immersion & each stage is a pleasure to look at. Most of them being mainly in open space which goes perfect with this kind of game.
Character detail is by far the best visual aspect of this game. The models are very realistic and you can tell that a lot of effort went into the design of animations. Characters have very dynamic and dramatic attack animations.
Strafing movements are really good and even idle characters look impressive. Armor & weapons are shiny and edges look very good. Leather and cloth items have very good physics and the blood effects are very thorough.
Mordhau has done a very good job aesthetically speaking in gameplay and surprisingly they were made so well by an indie development team.
The OSTs (Original Soundtracks) in Mordhau are pretty good. They are nice and simple with very heavily orchestrated instruments with the occasional vocals here and there.
However, just like For Honor, as the game requires such high concentration and the fact that there is a lot of in-game sounds like clashing swords and men shouting which isn’t bad but you can’t truly appreciate the soundtracks of Mordhau unless you’re on some sort of non-combat screen or you’ve altered your volume settings.
Fortunately, the quality of the in-game sound effects is brilliant such as footsteps on different terrain, clanking armor while moving, the clashing of steel in combat and especially the realistic sounds of crushing bones, severing limbs and decapitation.
Combining these with the grunts, groans and moans of characters really adds to the immersion and satisfaction of the gameplay experience when you’re cleaving through the enemy team.
Although the OSTs are pushed towards the back end of your consciousness, the general in-game sounds do compensate for this really do enhance the overall gaming experience.
There are three game modes to choose from:
- Frontline for 32 VS 32 domination,
- Battle Royale for Last Man Standing and
- Horde which is a player team against waves of AI.
You can however host custom matches with friends that allows for 1 vs 1 dual match or the very common 5 vs 5. Frontline is said to be the most fun and the best place to start.
Now Mordhau combat is quite simple in theory but it does take a bit.
For starters, you have your basic left-click which is your attack button. The direction of your attack is dependent on where you’re facing so if you move your mouse to the left slowly, then click and you will attack from the left side.
This can be indicated by the tiny little marker in the center of the screen. Tail of the marker points in the direction your swing will come from. There are six total directions – bottom left and right, overhead left and right, and just general left and right.
This is Mordhau’s main selling point feature that gives it its unique style of gameplay.
Now add in things like feign attacks, kicks, stab, throws and range combat and you’ve got a seemingly simple yet quite complex form of gameplay.
Now after a good few games you’ll start to get the hang of things. You will then be able to pull off things like mix-ups, prediction plays and sneaky attacks which keeps you and your enemies on your toes and gives incredibly high focus immersion to the player at all times.
Mordhau is like the first person hardcore team death version of For Honor. 1 to 2 clean hits from a strong weapon and you’re dead.
In Mordhau, you can’t just go in sword flailing everywhere and expect to get a 100 kill streak. You do need to use the abilities available to you to become successful.
In Mordhau, other gameplay features include building barricades, riding horse, planting bear traps throwing firebombs and much more. This gives Mordhau very gaming experience each time you play with a high-risk high-reward feel of gameplay that just gets better and better the more experienced of a player you become.
How to play Mordhau as a beginner
As mentioned, Mordhau is an online only multiplayer game so there isn’t any kind of difficult setting to choose from of course.
When you boot up the game, you’re quite literally allowed to get stuck straight in. Click the fight button, choose your game mode and play.
This isn’t recommended however as you’re better off doing the training first.
In training you’re given some simple gameplay advice, a few funny scenes and a basic feel of the general gameplay.
Once done, before you jump into any online matches you have the ability to create your own mercenary.
There are loads of different customizable options to choose from while creating your player.
These include basic facial / body options for purely aesthetics. Armor and weapon options which of course reduced damage taken and allow you to deal with more damage and even perks which have very random benefits like reduce fire damage taken or less damage done to teammates.
Side note – Friendly fire is always on in Mordhau at a reduced amount so keep that in mind.
Each missionary you create has a point allowance that you can spend on different combinations of armor, weapons and perks.
So, for example, if you choose the great sword as your weapon but also want a crossbow in your secondary slot; that only leaves you with two points left for anything else you might need which isn’t recommended.
You are best off going in with a fully plated armor, a decent weapon and maybe one cheap perk to start off to reduce as much damage taken as possible.
The weapon selection is extremely detailed if you check out the additional information but if you’re just starting out, you’re best choice would be choosing the weapon that feels good. New weapons and armor can be purchased with gold that you get at the end of each match played.
When you just start the game with no gold and you’re a level one, there aren’t a lot of noteworthy items you can equip yourself with until you reach at least level 4. Therefore it is recommended to use pre-made mercenaries for the first few games as some of them have loadouts you can’t use until higher levels.
And now, the ultimate question “Is it worth your money and time?”
The raw gameplay of Mordhau is pure and simple. It’s easy to learn, hard to master combat gives a steep learning curve from a noob to pro but the satisfaction of playing well is worth the grind.
By far, the most satisfying thing in this game is getting kills! The better you get the more kills you get and hence the most satisfaction you get.
The death animations are quite impressive and can be quite funny if you get decapitated.
The training stage definitely needs an advanced version to make practicing better and more efficient and the developers need to bring out a 1 vs 1 dual mode and possibly a 5 vs 5 or 10 vs 10 for some more focused game variants.
The main good and bad points of Mordhau is the fact that the effort you put into this game is a direct reflection of what you’ll get out of it. This means if you have the time to invest, the game and experience journey Mordhau offers will be a true delight.
But if your time is limited, you may not be willing to invest the effort in getting to a level of skill where the immersion and satisfaction you feel are at their highest.
If this is the case, Mordhau may not be the best choice for you but regardless, the game is definitely worth the money! It’s impressively polished for an indie game and is a welcomed addition to any skilled gamers collection.